Our exhibits and artifacts tell the story of the development of Franklin County.

Trains, Tribes, and Towns

Northern Pacific Railroad Construction, 1870-2020 A Franklin County Museum Sesquicentennial Exhibit William Mackay, Railroad Parade (1940 New York World’s Fair Poster) Franklin County Historical Museum Collection The steam locomotive Minnetonka shown above was the original NPRR engine sent to construct the historic line across the Pacific Northwest. After completion of the route in the 1880s…

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Snake River-Palouse Indian Exhibit

For the Snake River-Palouse Indians and other native peoples of the Northwest’s Columbia Plateau, foundational beliefs have long characterized a common life throughout a vast region of geographic diversity and cultural complexity. Such prominent nineteenth century Plateau spiritual leaders as Thomash among the Snake River-Palouse, Kotaiaqan among the…

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Prehistoric Camel Exhibit

Camels are associated only with the deserts of Asia and Africa, leaving their true North America origin unknown until recent research. According to scientists, camels originated in North America and most prehistoric species developed here. Camelops hesternus, the Giant Western Camel, was extremely abundant in the western…

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Marmes Man Exhibit

The broad rocky expanse that follows the course of Highway 395 from Pasco and Franklin County to Spokane follows one of the principal lobes of the Northwest’s legendary Channeled Scablands. In some places the terrain resembles an alien landscape with evidence of unimaginable cataclysm that evoke visions of…

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The Clement-Hooks Gallery of Rural Art

The color images of “Northwest Drylands” photographer John Clement like Divine Rays and Bringing in the Sheaves show the influence of two prominent American watercolor artists whose works he has closely studied since starting his career in the 1970s—Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth….

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John Mullan’s Northern Overland Road & Other Early Frontier Transportation Routes

Irrepressible, young Lt. John Mullan conceived of an overland route across the northern Rocky Mountains as early as the spring of 1854 after being assigned the previous year as a topographical engineer to Washington Territorial Governor…

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10 Franklin County Facts

In 1926, Varney Airlines commenced the first regular contracted airmail service with a route between Pasco, WA, and Elko, NV.

Skeletal remains, carbon-dated at 10,000 – 12,000 years old, were discovered on the banks of the Palouse River in the 1960s. Named the “Marmes Man,” these remains and the rock shelter in which they were found are now inundated by the waters of the Snake River impounded behind Lower Monumental Dam.

During the 1940s, “Big Pasco,” the Pasco Holding and Re-consignment Point housed a service unit of Italian POWs that were requisitioned to help alleviate the critical labor shortage. They served as skilled assistants to mechanics and electricians as well as performing other duties.

Pasco made a serious, but unsuccessful, bid to be elected the new state capital in 1889.

At the time of his death in 1931, Pasco mayor Alvin Parker-Gray was considered the oldest mayor in the United States.

Pasco was home to James Wong Howe, a noted Hollywood cinematographer who worked on many movies, such as Funny Lady, and who won numerous awards, such as an Oscar for Hud. He and his family came from China in the late 1890s.

In 1926, Varney Airlines commenced the first regular contracted airmail service with a route between Pasco, WA, and Elko, NV.

In 1943, the USS Pasco, a frigate named for the Franklin County seat, was launched at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond, CA.

During the winter of 1915-1916, 41 inches of snow fell in the county. Normal precipitation is 7 inches a year.

In 1942 the first influx of workers came by bus and train into Pasco to start the Hanford Project. They took over any empty business offices, filled every empty building (including chicken coops) with workers until they could build the city of Richland. All the scientists working on the project visited here under assumed names and stayed at the Pasco Hotel.